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The Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy Program is a special program where volunteer handler-animal teams make regularly scheduled visits to the Pediatric, Psychiatric and Medical Rehabilitation units at Providence St. Peter Hospital, and to the Adult and Adolescent units at the Chemical Dependency Center. We also visit with patients on other units throughout the hospital if PAAA/T services are ordered by a doctor or requested by a family member.

Here what our patients and families say about us ...

"When my son was one and a half, he became ill with pneumonia and R.S.V. and was admitted to Providence St. Peter Hospital E.R. We were terrified and traumatized as our tiny little guy had to be strapped down to be given IV's and an oxygen mask. By the time he got to the Pediatric unit, he was pretty scared and really clinging to us, not his typical smiling, happy self. On the second evening a very nice women and her dog, "Alfie," came to visit him. I remember this so clearly as being the turning point for him. He smiled and got out of his crib and was able to pet the dog. That visit was a really important part of his recovery if you ask me. Mostly it just brought some light to a really dark and difficult time for all of us."

"I think this speaks so clearly of the importance that AAA/T plays in the care we give to our patients here at St. Peter. Its the kind of medicine that can't be ordered from the pharmacy, but none the less just what is needed. I feel fortunate not only to have been a recipient of that care, but also to be an employee with a facility that creates that kind of an atmosphere."
Sabrina Craig

"So many of our patients are cut off from their own environments and their own pets, and are coping with the highly technical environment of Critical Care. The unconditional love and understanding that a dog generates improves the patients' outlook and is good for the staff as well!
Kathy H., R.N.

"Interacting with the animals provides motivation for our newly disabled patients to accomplish tasks that may be difficult or painful - such as moving an arm weakened by a stroke - to pat a dog."
Pat Gabrielse, Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

"Larry enjoyed petting and brushing Snickers (Golden Retriever cross). He went from being immobile and lethargic to alert and interested as the visit progressed. His mother beamed and said, 'That's the first time he's smiled in 24 hours!'"
Cathleen Vanzwol, Snickers' partner, Pediatric Unit

"After Jeff visited with Ulysses (Birman Cat), he engaged in some one-on-one conversation with another patient, a first since he had arrived on the unit according to the staff. They told me that Ulysses definitely worked wonders today."
Annette Lanker, Ulysses' partner, Psychiatric Unit